Graduate Information

If you have an accredited bachelor’s degree or its foreign equivalent and are qualified for graduate work but do not wish to enter a degree program, you may apply to a department or program in the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences for admission as a special student with nondegree status. You should submit your completed application and a transcript of all previously awarded degrees along with the application fee. Please indicate the department to which you are applying as a non-degree candidate. When submitting an online application, you may also upload a document outlining your interest in the department to which you are applying.

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Results of the GRE are not required for non-degree status; however, international students must submit an official score report of the TOEFL that meets the minimum requirements.

Students looking to eventually enroll in a graduate program within GRS are encouraged to apply as a non-degree student. We strongly suggest that prospective students speak directly with their department of interest to determine their policies related to non-degree students as well as the benefits of non-degree status. If you are offered admission as a non-degree and later wish to change your status to degree status, you must submit an application by the application deadline for the semester of intended enrollment. No more than two courses for a degree program of eight semester courses, or four courses for a degree program of 16 semester courses, may be credited toward the degree, and only if the grades received are B or higher. International students interested in attending the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences as a visiting scholar or while remaining in a degree program at another institution should contact GRS Admissions directly.

Financial assistance is not available to nondegree students.

For those who wish to take courses at Boston University and do not wish to seek admission, even as a non-degree student, follow the instructions below:

  1. It is important to contact the correct college within Boston University when registering for courses as a University non-degree student. The three-letter acronym preceding the course will indicate which college’s policy governs the registration process. If the course is listed as GRS with a course level of 600+, contact the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. If the course is listed as CAS with a 500 course level or lower, contact the CAS Advising Office for instructions.
  2. If the course is a GRS course, contact the department of the course and inquire if it is available for non-degree students. If it is, you will need to get permission and a signature on a registration form from the appropriate staff/faculty member in the department. The next step is to bring the registration form to the Admissions Office of the Graduate School of Arts & Sciences for a stamp of approval. Then bring the registration form to the Registrar’s Office at 881 Commonwealth Avenue, Second Floor, for processing.

Once registration is processed, charges are assessed and you are responsible for those charges. If you wish to withdraw from the University, you must complete a withdrawal form prior to the first day of the semester for a 100% refund. The refund schedule can be found here.